Artist Amy Reeder spent some of her time during Comic-Con International with CBR TV, discussing among other things her early work illustrating Vertigo’s “Madame Xanadu” for writer Matt Wagner, the complexities of her “Fool’s Gold” contract, her goals for the future and how having the ability to harness the power of Kickstarter for projects like her and co-creator Brandon Montclare’s “Rocket Girl” has allowed her to take control of her own destiny.
On her time working on “Madame Xanadu” with Matt Wagner: One of the biggest messages that he gave me — I don’t know if it’s too interesting — but it’s whenever you introduce a new character for an issue, you have to have that panel that really shows them. It can’t just be an aside. For some reason, that was his big focus — things like that. Clarity. Another thing he taught me was just being very fair about people you collaborate with. He was always very good at sharing. He stood up for me a lot. He was the reason I got to do covers on the book. He put a lot of faith in me. I feel a responsibility to do the same for other people.
On whether she owns her TokyoPop manga “Fool’s Gold”: I think it’s supposed to be 50/50 and I don’t understand what that means, to be honest. I can’t just go and do it. I have to talk to them. I know a lot of other creators, they try to buy the rights, but I think it’s one of those things from what I understand where — if you collect it; if you do single issues, you still have to buy the rights, but it’s fine. If you collect it, they get a percentage because it’s a graphic novel. Something about the contracts. They’re holding on to it because they have properties and then investors will pay them money. A lot of people got a sore deal from it. I personally only benefited from it. I exploited them. I had only drawn 35 pages of sequential art before they gave me a three volume book deal. Then, I got noticed by Marvel and DC, and I haven’t ever looked back. I really exploited them. They didn’t earn a lot of money off of me.
On “Rocket Girl” and Kickstarter’s impact on her: I think it’s an unbelievable thing. I’m so happy that I’ve done it, and obviously I’ve done it twice, so it worked well the first time time so I wanted to do it again. It’s incredibly reassuring when you’re working that directly with fans. Part of my actually thinks that — I’m really glad publishers have given me a chance, but I almost feel like they can sometimes underestimate me and how people might react to me, so it’s nice to go directly to [fans] with a project to see what they want us to do. It’s a great opportunity to do what you want. I don’t know how long Kickstarter will be successful, I hope it will always be, I don’t know if that’s going to be the case. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that I’ll do a Kickstarter in the future — I don’t have any plans. I’m very focused on “Rocket Girl,” which was successful and that’s going to be an ongoing series. For the foreseeable future, I’m just focusing on that. Now, I feel like it’s hard to launch a series without getting people involved like that.
On her goal moving forward in comics: I wouldn’t mind doing some work for hire, but it would really have to be one of those situations where they want me for me. I want my focus to be on creator-owned work. To be honest, it was always what I cared about most. I loved “Batwoman,” I loved “Madame Xanadu,” I loved “Supergirl.” I really do care about those characters, so it’s nothing like that. But I’m always drawn to original creations. I’m not going around the con looking for “Doctor Who” t-shirts. I’m going around looking for original, interesting art t-shirts. That’s just how I think. That’s my goal. I would love to be one of those artists or artist/writers that get to do really cool stuff with owned entities because I’ve somehow created that elsewhere doing my creator-owned stuff. I’d much rather have that combo instead of being somebody that mostly does licensed work, works their tail off doing that, and then occasionally gets to do creator-owned work.